Study Guide

East of Eden Love

By John Steinbeck


Wouldn't it be great if we could just buy another person's love? It sounds ridiculous, but people in East of Eden try to do it all the time. From Charles's birthday gift for his father to Adam's mini-paradise that he tries to build for Cathy, we see that people are really desperate for love. And when they don't get it? It's not pretty. The fear of not being loved is really at the core of this story—and, according to Lee, it's at the core of all humanity too. Love is a big deal.

Questions About Love

  1. In the novel, what is the relationship between idolizing someone and loving them? Do you have to idolize the person you love?
  2. Are there major differences between familial love and romantic love in this novel, or is it all treated the same way?
  3. What is the craziest thing a character does for another character's love in East of Eden?
  4. Overall, is love portrayed in a positive or negative light in East of Eden?

Chew on This

In the novel love is, ironically, a destructive force.

In the novel, love prevents people from seeing the world as it really is.